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Parliament House

Peter Maltezos's picture

Text from Walking Melbourne

The National Trust guide to the historic and architectural landmarks of central Melbourne

Parliament House

Melbourne’s grandest public building is located in a position terminating the long vista up Bourke Street; the early date and monumental scale of the design indicates the huge aspirations of the young colony. Following furore about blocking views of St. Patrick’s, and a competition that failed to generate a winner, the initial design was developed in 1855 by Peter Kerr and J G Knight. Construction in stages was immediately started, with the two parliamentary chambers opening in 1856, followed by the rear library and then Queen’s Hall, but their rough bluestone exterior walls remained visible for many years because the grand street façade was not completed until 1892, following a search for a suitable Victorian stone. This imposing classical colonnade atop massive stairs, designed by Peter Kerr alone in 1877, is more grandiose than the original design (and is strikingly similar to the smaller Leeds Town Hall in the UK, completed in 1858). The delightful gardens and the ornate cast iron fence and lamps were added by 1892, but the north and south wings have never been completed, nor has the tall dome, the most well-known architectural statement in Melbourne never to have materialized. The craftsmanship and detailing throughout the building is of extraordinarily high quality, and the interiors are spectacular, particularly the plush Upper House, one of the finest spaces built in 19th century Australia, Queens Hall and the vestibule. Commonwealth Parliament sat here from Federation in 1901 until its move to Canberra in 1927.


What Parliament house would look like if it is ever completed.


Edwardian postcard showing south-west corner.


The north-west corner.




Parliament House in the 1960s.


The Vestibule.


Queen's Hall.


Queen's Hall ceiling.


Legislative Assembly.


Legislative Council showing ceiling.


Legislative Council.


From the balcony, Legislative Council.


Parliament Library.


Recent postcard of Parliament House.


My own photographs below. smiley

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Peter Maltezos's picture

Parliament House, a good spot to photograph trams


All shots below, my own. smiley

I collect, therefore I am.

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Peter Maltezos's picture

I collect, therefore I am.

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Aussie Steve's picture

The photo above shows the fish scale glass skylights in all their glory. Now sadly, over painted.

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Development & Planning

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 00:00
City of Port Phillip will this week indicate that it has sufficient reason to object to two pending projects in Port Melbourne. 17 Rocklea Drive and 365-391 Plummer Street are both within the Wirraway Precinct of Fishermans Bend, and both projects are under the authority of the Minister for Planning.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.


Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.

Transport & Design

Saturday, December 9, 2017 - 00:00
Spring Street has released details of a large shutdown of the Pakenham/Cranbourne and Frankston lines which will allow workers to complete major upgrades to the rail infrastructure. The work is required to allow for the introduction of the new High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMTs) and will involve upgrading power & catenary, signalling and communications equipment in the Dandenong (Pakenham/Cranbourne) corridor.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.